When Will the Beloved Fountain at Boise’s Ann Morrison Park Be Torn Out?
For the better part of 62 years, the incredible fountain has shot water high into the sky during sweltering Boise summers and provided sweet relief its cool mist.
Unfortunately, it was one way to cool down that we didn't get to enjoy during a summer than brought Boise a nearly record number of 100º+ degree days. The iconic fountain at Ann Morrison Park stayed dry in 2021 as the City of Boise prepared to demolish it. This sign informing park goers that the fountain would be replaced first appeared in late May.
Why Is the Old Ann Morrison Park Fountain Being Replaced?
While the sign came as a shock to many, removing and replacing the current fountain is something that both the City of Boise and Harry W. Morrison Foundation has been discussing since 2016. The aging fountain, while absolutely gorgeous, has proven to be a bit of a safety hazard at times. It wasn't designed to be climbed and played in, but children still try to scale the walls and swim in its pool. The wet concrete around the fountain's base also created a potentially painful fall hazard.
That's why replacing the fountain with a more interactive fountain that was actually meant to be played in was included in the massive Ann Morrison Park Renewal Project. The new fountain will be more similar to a splash pad, but include elements like color changing LED lights and a programed water display.
Earlier this year, Boise Parks and Recreation explained that in addition to putting in a safer fountain the current fountain is actually in a state of disrepair. It has a number of problems that can't be fixed because it's so old and they can no longer find the right parts for it.
Why Hasn't the Ann Morrison Park Fountain Been Demolished Yet?
Since the leaves have changed color and temperatures have dropped, we decided to go for a run at Ann Morrison Park to see what the fountain's status was now that it's "Fall 2021." We found the fountain looking like this:
It's very much still there and the sign about its replacement is gone. According to the website for the Ann Morrison Park Renewal Project, the fountain project, while funded, has been delayed due to supply chain issues. They now hope that they'll be able to complete the new interactive fountain by Spring 2022.
Fundraising continues for the stairway that will connect Crescent Rim and Ann Morrison Park and the restoration of the clock tower. Both of these projects are also part of the renewal efforts, but aren't yet funded and have no targeted completion dates at this time.
What Did the Ann Morrison Park Fountain Used to Look Like?
When Ann Morrison Park was dedicated in 1959, the iconic fountain used to look very different from the way that it does now. Initially, the fountain was recessed in the center of a large reflecting pool. Unlike anything you'd find in Boise's other parks, it was common to find photos of the fountain on postcards like this one:
The back of one of the post cards reads: "The 76 different jets illuminated by many color combinations and accompanied by music over an electronic system is a favorite spot in this beautiful park every summer evening." The reflecting pool was filled in with concrete sometime in the mid-90s and raised to look like the fountain that's currently awaiting demolition.
If seeing these old pictures has you fascinated about the history of the fountain, check out this old article from Emily Montague. She discusses the another summer the fountain didn't run and what was the park staff was surprised to find causing the issues they were having with it.